OSCA winner Keith steals show with unbeaten century

Keith Hudson with his OSCA award
Keith Hudson with his OSCA award

Keith Hudson celebrated winning a Yorkshire Cricket Board award last Thursday by playing arguably the best innings of his long career.

The man who has been described as “Mr Bridgeholme CC” took the Services to Groundsmanship honour at the 2014 Outstanding Services to Cricket Awards Evening at the Indoor School, Headingley, Leeds.

Less than 48 hours later, Hudson was striking a chanceless 127 not out for the Eastwood club’s seconds in their home win over Denholme Clough in Division Two of the Foster’s Halifax League.

“It was a right batting track - delicious,” said Hudson, who is hoping both of Bridgeholme’s teams can go up as champions this summer.

“Gary Wilson, who I used to open with, said ‘it’s the best I’ve ever seen you bat’.”

It was Wilson, now Bridgeholme treasurer, who nominated Hudson for an OSCA.

He summarised Hudson’s contribution as follows: “In the first 25 years of his tenure, Keith has battled against flood, theft, vandalism and dwindling player numbers to single handedly keep an obscure and rather insignificant little cricket club alive.”

The groundsman category is one of the more keenly-fought in the OSCAs and Hudson, not one to trumpet his efforts, said he was humbled to receive the award.

“It’s nice. Relatively few people know how much work I do - I would be embarrassed to explain what I do because people would think I was stupid or mad or both.

“It is a bit like gardening - it’s a labour of love. If you have a spare half hour and things need doing, you do them.”

Hudson said the financial assistance Bridgeholme had received from the YCB and ECB after the floods of recent years had encouraged him and others to turn the club’s fortunes around.

“We always seemed to have our backs to the wall and it could have pushed us over the top,” he said.

“We have always hung in there but at last things are starting to advance.”

Hudson said he had really enjoyed going to Headingley, watching the closing stages of Yorkshire’s win over Worcestershire, having a buffet tea and then learning he had won the award.

The feelgood factor carried over to Saturday when both Bridgeholme teams were victorious and Hudson hit his third ton of the season and learned that his young opening partner Zac Harris had scored a half-century after stepping up to the firsts.

There were a couple of other points of interest from the second team contest. Bridgeholme’s Andy Thomas took four wickets in four balls - and might have made it five in five with a good lbw shout - while Clough’s Mohammed Adeem hit a 13-ball half-century after being dropped off the first delivery he faced.

The firsts won by 46 runs at Greetland to raise hopes of a double trophy celebration.